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2022 NHL Draft: Best 10 Defensemen

The 2021 NHL Draft used to be the 12 months of the defenseman as Owen Energy (1st – Buffalo Sabres), Luke Hughes (4th – New Jersey Devils), Simon Edvinsson (sixth – Detroit Pink Wings) and Brandt Clarke (eighth – Los Angeles Kings) took up place of dwelling within the peak ten. As soon as the 1st around used to be whole, a complete of 8 blueliners had been selected. The 2022 Draft might be extra of the similar, as Simon Nemec and David Jiricek seem to be locked in on the peak and intriguing potentialities like Kevin Korchinski, Pavel Mintyukov and Denton Mateychuk are projected to be lottery choices as effectively.

2022 NHL Draft Top 10 Defencemen Simon Nemec, David Jiricek and Kevin Korchinski
Simon Nemec, David Jiricek and Kevin Korchinski (The Hockey Writers)

So, now that we’re only a few weeks clear of naming the 2022 Draft magnificence, let’s take a better have a look at the projected peak ten defensemen that may ultimately be decided on on July 7 and eight.

10. Calle Odelius, LD, Djurgårdens IF J20 (J20 Nationell)

NHL Central Scouting: sixteenth (amongst EU skaters)
THW Prospect Profile

Calle Odelius used to be just a supporting actor when it got here to draft-eligible gamers taking part in for Djurgårdens’ J20 staff. That’s most effective as a result of there used to be a trio of projected first-rounders through the names of Jonathan Lekkerimaki, Liam Ohgren and Noah Ostlund headlining the display. That’s to not say he isn’t particular, simply that he’s no longer probably the most well known of the bunch. Projected through many retailers to get decided on against the top of the 1st around or early on in the second one, his toolkit is completely fitted to the trendy NHL as THW’s personal Peter Baracchini reiterates in his prospect profile.

Similar: THW’s FREE 2022 NHL Draft Information

“Odelius is the whole thing that you’d need in a contemporary two-way, puck-moving defenseman as he presentations very good composure and situational consciousness. His smarts permit him to assume the sport briefly and successfully, however it’s his skating this is all the time on show. He has nice motion in all instructions and he’s very misleading along with his motions and actions.”

I think like there is no longer numerous speak about Calle Odelius🇸🇪 Listed here are a few of my favourite moments from the tapes I have noticed thus far:
*Trendy-type defenseman;clean skater
*Accountable defensively
*Robust passing sport
*Spectacular puck-moving talent
*Forged offensive upside

Whilst Odelius would possibly not change into a dominant power at the peak pairing, his ceiling is for sure that of a second-pairing blueliner who can play on each particular groups and supply a stabilizing presence for his spouse because of his robust two-way sport. His skating, passing and playmaking talents are strengths each and every trainer and basic supervisor salivate over, and he has all of them in spades. He nonetheless has some paintings to do at the defensive aspect of the puck, however that may include time as he develops. Given his excessive hockey IQ, that weak point shouldn’t save you a staff from settling on him on Day 2 and even overdue on Day 1.

Taking part in for the aforementioned Djurgårdens IF J20 staff, Odelius recorded an excellent seven targets and 30 issues in 43 video games and used to be named to Group Sweden’s squad on the 2022 U18 Global Championship the place he publish 3 assists in six video games. He additionally made himself recognized on the 2022 Scouting Mix in Buffalo, completing on the peak of the leaderboard in fatigue index and height energy output within the Wingate. Each measure staying power, which bodes effectively for the long run as he might be relied upon to log primary mins in all scenarios when he makes it to the NHL.

9. Ryan Chesley, RD, USNTDP Juniors (USHL)

NHL Central Scouting: 18th (amongst NA skaters)
THW Prospect Profile

From one two-way power to some other, it’s Ryan Chesley from the USA Nationwide Group Construction Program (USNTDP), who additionally has a shiny long run as a defender within the NHL. Already effectively evolved as a defensive defenceman with a excessive hockey IQ, he might be able to step into the league as a bottom-pairing possibility once subsequent season. That’s how excellent he’s within the defensive zone already. In truth, Peter, who wrote his profile, selected him as a prospect who may probably just do that during his draft-plus-1 marketing campaign in a phase on THW’s Prospect Nook.

“Chesley is an excessively robust and dependable two-way defender with nice hockey sense. He has an ideal paintings ethic however his bread and butter is his defensive play, as he possesses nice instincts in his personal finish or within the impartial zone. He’s extraordinarily assured and excels in one-on-one scenarios, as he does an implausible task of final the space at the puck service.”

Chesley’s strengths for sure lie within the defensive zone, however that doesn’t imply he gained’t broaden an offensive sport at some point too. His numbers on the U18 degree don’t scream offensive power, however taking into account he scored 12 targets within the USDP and 5 in the USA Hockey League (USHL), together with two targets in six video games on the U18s, he may have the next ceiling than most of the people assume. Even supposing he doesn’t grow to be a two-way dynamo, the staff who selects him will nonetheless be more than pleased with what they get, even though it’s simply defence with the occasional purpose or two.

Dedicated to the College of Minnesota within the fall, Chesley might be becoming a member of a college with a wealthy historical past of growing robust two-way defenders as they boast Erik Johnson, Nick Leddy, Ryan Lindgren, Nate Schmidt and Brady Skjei amongst its fresh alumnus. Principally, what I’m pronouncing is, don’t be shocked if he joins them at some point.

8. Seamus Casey, RD, USNTDP Juniors (USHL)

NHL Central Scouting: twenty ninth (amongst NA skaters)
THW Prospect Profile

The extra offensively prone of the American defenders on this 2022 Draft magnificence, Seamus Casey isn’t afraid to leap into the frenzy or take a possibility offensively. Definitely one of the vital easiest skating defensemen that may get decided on within the first or moment around, he, like some other talented USHL alum in Quinn Hughes, flourishes on account of their edge-work, clean stride and talent to rise up to peak pace in a flash. Not like Hughes, he’s no longer projected to head within the peak 10 through maximum shops, despite the fact that. In truth, he’s in every single place from as excessive as a top-15 pick out to as little as later in the second one around.

Casey is undersized (5-foot-10, 161 kilos) to make sure, however that hasn’t stopped Hughes or Cale Makar from changing into top-notch blueliners within the NHL. No, he isn’t on the similar degree as the ones two franchise cornerstones, however he nonetheless has the chops to make it as an understudy to gamers of that calibre. Together with his elite skating talents, he too can expertly quarterback an influence play and transition the puck very easily throughout the impartial zone by means of his skates or a well-placed tape-to-tape move. Dedicated to a powerful program on the College of Michigan that has already churned out Energy, Nick Blankenburg, Quinn Hughes and really quickly, his brother Luke, Casey and the staff that drafts him must have a shiny long run to look ahead to.

7. Owen Pickering, LD, Swift Present Broncos (WHL)

NHL Central Scouting: fifteenth (amongst NA skaters)
THW Prospect Profile

To begin with considered a second-round pick out at easiest, Owen Pickering has raised his inventory these days, no longer most effective thru his play with the Swift Present Broncos but in addition his robust efficiency within the health checking out portion of the NHL Mix firstly of June. Completing first within the Aerobics Health: Check Period 14:00 Mins or Extra take a look at, he blew the contest away with a fifteen:30 ranking, which used to be a complete 29 seconds greater than second-place finisher Calle Odelius.

Status at a menacing 6-foot-4, Pickering already has NHL dimension, however skates like he’s 5-foot-10. Fluid and easy strides make up the majority of his skating sport as he can skate as effectively forwards as he can backwards.

“The spine of Pickering’s sport and the rationale to be maximum excited for his attainable on the NHL degree is within the fluidity and athleticism with which he traverses the ice…The facility he generates thru crossovers is a constant theme for Pickering noticed in his backwards stride as effectively…Rounding out the totality of Pickering’s skating prowess are his fast ft and versatile hips. He’s extremely agile for a participant his dimension and will make the most of nifty footwork to create lanes for himself.” –Donesh Mazloum, FC Hockey

Owen Pickering Swift Current Broncos
Owen Pickering, Swift Present Broncos (Candice Ward / Swift Present Broncos)

Whilst Pickering has the tendency to make unhealthy selections on the subject of his passing, he has an intriguing toolbox of skill that are supposed to translate effectively to the NHL degree. Basic managers and coaches, even now, love gamers with dimension despite the fact that “undersized” gamers are dominating the panorama. Having stated that, Pickering is not any peculiar 6-foot-4 defender as his skating obviously demonstrates.

6. Lian Bichsel, LD, Leksands IF (SHL)

NHL Central Scouting: ninth (amongst EU skaters)
THW Prospect Profile

As we shut in at the peak 5, let’s take a minute to discuss some other sizeable defenceman in 6-foot-5 Swiss-born Lian Bichsel. Essentially concerned with his personal zone and masking up the mistakes of his teammates, he performed a whopping 29 video games for Leksands IF within the Swedish Hockey League (SHL), the place he scored a purpose and 3 assists. In fact, no longer recognized for his prowess within the offensive zone, he has been recognized to hurry the puck in now and then and unharness his heavy slap shot.

2022 first-round draft prospect Lian Bichsel brings dimension, skating and most significantly, an unpleasant bodily edge to the blueline, writes THN prospect professional @THNRyanKennedy

Bichsel’s dimension, physicality and defensive sport would be the causes he will get drafted despite the fact that. Like Dayton stated in his prospect profile, “defensive defensemen are a very powerful in a staff’s luck. Simply have a look at the easiest defensive pairings within the NHL; Cale Makar has labored superbly with Devon Toews, whilst Tony DeAngelo revived his profession with Jaccob Slavin through his aspect. Those gamers put within the exhausting mins in their very own finish, permitting a extra dynamic participant to hurry the puck and create scoring possibilities.” That’s precisely what he’s going to change into, an excellent spouse to any individual like Hughes, Makar or DeAngelo.

5. Denton Mateychuk, LD, Moosejaw Warriors (WHL)

NHL Central Scouting: 14th (amongst NA skaters)
THW Prospect Profile

Hailing from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Mateychuk has the entire gear to be a top-pairing defenceman in his top. Starring for the Moosejaw Warriors within the Western Hockey League (WHL), he lit up the contest this season to the song of 13 targets and 64 issues in 65 video games, which used to be excellent for 5th amongst defencemen at the back of Kevin Korchinski, Chad Nychuk, Clay Hanus and Olen Zellweger. Blended along with his mobility, imaginative and prescient and intelligence from the purpose, he’s the whole thing you need in an NHL defender, particularly within the trendy sport which is in response to pace and ability.

Denton Mateychuk Moose Jaw Warriors
Denton Mateychuk, Moose Jaw Warriors (Nick Pettigrew / Moose Jaw Warriors)

Like THW’s Sean Raggio stated in his prospect profile, “He’s fast and keen to sign up for the frenzy, and isn’t a stranger to wearing the puck over the blue line. He has the facility to hold the puck into the zone and identify regulate for his staff. He doesn’t shy clear of heading into unhealthy spaces, and has the imaginative and prescient and creativity to make a play and transfer the puck into the ones spaces to open teammates, or get a shot on purpose.”

Mateychuk additionally boasts one of the easiest playmaking and passing talents of the defencemen on this draft magnificence. As described through SMAHT Scouting’s Austin Garrett, who exclaimed, “If one had been to make a spotlight video of Mateychuk it could nearly indubitably be riddled with “how did he even see that man!?!?” passes. His passing imaginative and prescient and creativity is at an elite degree, particularly in his managed entries and exits. He is in a position to determine passing lanes at an elite degree, and is in a position to manipulate defenders along with his ability to open up passing lanes himself.”

4. Kevin Korchinski, LD, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)

NHL Central Scouting: seventh (amongst NA skaters)
THW Prospect Profile

Korchinski vastly greater his inventory heading into the 2022 Draft with a powerful efficiency within the WHL Playoffs with the Seattle Thunderbirds. After an ordinary season that noticed him report 4 targets and 65 issues in 67 video games, he persevered that dominance into the playoffs with some other six targets and 19 issues in 25 video games, surpassing his purpose overall from all of the 2021-22 marketing campaign. On the other hand, in spite of that offensive outburst, pundits began to criticize his defensive sport – particularly within the WHL Ultimate towards the high-powered Edmonton Oil Kings.

Kevin Korchinski Seattle Thunderbirds
Kevin Korchinski, Seattle Thunderbirds (Brian Liesse / Seattle Thunderbirds)

That reality must no longer negate the entire certain development Korchinski made this season, despite the fact that. Would possibly I remind you, he used to be taking part in towards elite potentialities like Dylan Guenther, Jake Neighbours and Justin Sourdif, so it’s no longer like he had it simple in the market. That being stated, like any defenders, he nonetheless must broaden that aspect of his sport at some point. His skating, edges and transition sport, alternatively, are all strengths that may ultimately get him drafted someplace within the peak 10.

3. Pavel Mintyukov, LD, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)

NHL Central Scouting: sixth (amongst NA skaters)
THW Prospect Profile

One of the vital deadly defencemen within the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) this season, and the one OHL defender in this listing, Pavel Mintyukov completed with 62 issues in 67 video games, which incorporated 17 targets. Undoubtedly no longer well-rounded…but, he has the offensive toolkit to turn out to be a big contributor on an NHL backend and first-unit energy play in the future, as he used to be touted through McKeen’s scout Brock Otten as having the “very best upside of any defencemen to be had.”

Pavel Mintyukov Saginaw Spirit
Pavel Mintyukov, Saginaw Spirit (Natalie Shaver/OHL Photographs)

Blessed with dimension, skating and excessive hockey IQ,’s Mike G. Morreale in comparison Mintyukov to Mikhail Sergachev of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Whilst he is probably not there within the two-way sense simply but, he has the whole thing he must turn out to be a top-four defender with an out of doors likelihood of the 1st pairing. It is going to be fascinating to look if his abilities translate favorably to the following degree, as he’s nonetheless reasonably uncooked in his personal finish at this level.

2. David Jiricek, RD, HC Plzen (Czechia)

NHL Central Scouting: 4th (amongst EU skaters)
THW Prospect Profile

At the heels of a 2021 Draft that completed with Canadian Owen Energy and American Luke Hughes as the highest two defenders, 2022 will – barring a shocking flip of occasions – shuttle in another country to characteristic a duo from the area of Czechia and Slovakia. First up is the chic two-way presence of David Jiricek.

After struggling an damage right through Group Czechia’s first sport of the truncated 2022 Global Junior Championship in December, a sport wherein he recorded an lend a hand, Jiricek used to be restricted to simply 29 video games this season. On the other hand, he nonetheless ended up completing with 5 targets and 11 issues and used to be in a position to get into the lineup for the 2022 Global Championship the place he recorded two issues in 5 video games, strolling away with a bronze medal within the procedure. In spite of the restricted viewings for scouts, the 6-foot-3 Czechian remains to be projected to be decided on within the peak 10 and possibly would be the moment defender off the board when the 1st around involves an in depth on July 7.

David Jiricek Team Czechia
David Jiricek, Group Czechia (Photograph through Codie McLachlan/Getty Photographs)

Arguably probably the most well-rounded defenceman of the 2022 Draft magnificence, Jiricek can deliver it each offensively and defensively. Measurement, examine, skating, examine, hockey IQ, examine, a booming shot from the purpose, double and triple-check. Principally, he exams numerous packing containers on the subject of what scouts, coaches and basic managers search for in a two-way defenceman. He’s additionally a correct shot, which is a unprecedented characteristic amongst elite blueliners. On account of this, he may in reality play within the NHL faster fairly than later. In truth, THW’s Alex Hobson in comparison him favorably to Detroit Pink Wings’ big name Moritz Seider, who ripped it up as a rookie in 2021-22. If he becomes anything else like him, the staff that drafts him might be over the moon.

1. Simon Nemec, RD, HK Nitra (Slovakia)

NHL Central Scouting: third (amongst EU skaters)
THW Prospect Profile

Nemec has almost definitely sat on peak of the mountain of 2022 Draft eligible defencemen because the get started of the season. From appearances on the Hlinka Gretzky Cup (the place he used to be captain), U18s, Global Juniors, Olympic Qualifiers, Olympics and Global Championships, he has run the gauntlet of global hockey taking part in in a complete of 26 video games around the six tournaments. Whilst he didn’t get started generating till the 2022 Global Championship (1 purpose, 5 assists in 8 video games), he nonetheless performed a ton of hockey for his nation, most commonly towards males with numerous skilled enjoy. He wasn’t a passenger both, as he logged numerous mins and helped lead Slovakia to a Hlinka Gretzky Cup Silver Medal, Olympic Bronze Medal, and U18 Department 1A Gold Medal. Speak about a world resume, and he hasn’t even grew to become 19 but.

Nemec additionally performed for HK Nitra within the Slovakia league the place he had an excellent 26 issues in 39 regular-season video games and an eye-popping 5 targets and 17 issues within the playoffs. What a 12 months certainly. No marvel he’s projected as a top-five variety at this 12 months’s draft.

Simon Nemec Team Slovakia
Simon Nemec, Group Slovakia (Photograph through ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP by means of Getty Photographs)

The ones totals and accolades had been made conceivable through Nemec’s huge toolkit of elite two-way hockey. But some other right-hander on the peak of this draft, the 6-foot-1, 192-pound Slovakian has the whole thing you need in a top-pairing, franchise defenceman. His self assurance is aware of no bounds as he expertly navigates each and every zone at the ice very easily and precision because of his high-end hockey IQ, apparently easy skating stride and fast stick. His transition sport additionally permits him to seamlessly transfer from offense to protection, which makes for an excessively unhealthy participant to head up towards. All in all, if a staff is short of a game-changing defenceman, they may be able to’t move incorrect with an expansion like Nemec.

Ultimate Phrase

The 2022 Draft would possibly not have the first-overall skill of Energy, however it for sure has two towers of energy that may ultimately turn out to be elite top-pairing defenders at some point. It additionally has a number of others that might be able to be top-four, and nonetheless, others that may wonder from the second one around and peak out as elite despite the fact that nobody expects them to at this level. Keep tuned, since you by no means know what can occur on the subject of issues of potentialities and the draft. We will be able to see the place they in the long run finally end up team-wise when the playing cards are at the desk in only a few weeks.

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